All of us have pet peeves - things that just drive us nuts. Sometimes we get so annoyed we start trying to convince others they should be driven nuts by it, too. And when we annoy someone by harping on our pet peeves, there's generally a pretty good chance someone will call us a " Nazi." THAT is my pet peeve - mainly because, in my opinion, using "Nazi" so casually is dangerous.
The Nazis perpetrated unbelievable horrors on humanity. They tried to destroy entire populations - not just Jews, but Gypsies, gays, the disabled and more. They are - hopefully - the closest to a personification of evil that any of us will know.
As such, minimizing or - Gods forbid - forgetting who they were and what they did is something we simply can't afford to do.
Yet every time someone - anyone - starts comparing stuff to the Nazis, that's exactly what we're doing - minimizing them. I've heard the term "Nazi" used to describe anything from people who try to keep mailing list conversations on topic to the political policies of whichever party the speaker doesn't belong to (and both liberals and conservatives are guilty of that.)
While, admittedly, some proposed policies actually might start encroaching in Nazi-ish territory, it's not nearly as frequent as you'd think from listening to the public discourse. And the more often we call policies that *don't* rise to the level of what the Nazi's actually did, the less attention people will pay if policies that do actually are proposed and called out for what they are! Worse, though, in common usage, "Nazi" is becoming synonymous with "really, really strict." This is a problem because the Nazis were so much more than just "strict" and need to be remembered as such.
I'll bet some of you right now are thinking "Damn, we've got a Nazi Nazi here," so I'll preemptively make that "joke." At the same time, I'm sure NONE of you think I'd actually start hauling people who disagree with my point into concentration camps, perform unimaginable medical experiments on them or try to conquer the world to force my opinion on it, right?
Already, we have people who deny that the Holocaust ever happened. By using "Nazi" as an epithet for people we view as annoyingly strict or overly passionate about trying to convince others to conform to their pet peeves, we're helping them. In just sixty years after the Nazi's rise, we've already gone from 'unimaginable evil' to 'really, really strict.' If that kind of minimization continues, stripping away the sheer horror the term "Nazi" should carry, Nazis start to seem less evil, less scary.
Right now we still have people alive who remember what the Nazis truly were and can remind us with their own, personal memories, and that helps keep the horror alive. Sixty years from now, though, what will "Nazi" have come to mean in the human populace? Shouldn't it STILL mean "unimaginable evil?"